A Writer’s Year – Are you out there, Charles Rigg?

A small selection of the novels by EWC members past and present.

A small selection of the novels by EWC members past and present.

January I began 2013 in the knowledge that MuseItUp liked my Regency romance, Mariah’s Marriage, and were to e-publish it in May. Could I write another? Normally in January, I like to write and fire off a lot of shorts. Fillers, letters to the Magazine page, opinions, jokey observations, but this year was different. I was about to become a published novelist and must, therefore, write novels.
And blog about writing novels. So, sadly, my play blog has slipped into the background, although I update it from time to time, and Novels Now was born on 2nd January. I did a book review of Her New Worst Enemy by Christy McKellen and interviewed Scarlet Wilson who writes medicals for M & B.

February In February, I wrote the first posts in a series. This one was about ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ A question truly dreaded by writers. I featured the RoNas which are one of the highlights of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s year. This year they were graced by Richard and Judy.

March was a cross fertilisation as my publishers were doing Pet Writing Peeves on the MuseItUp blog. I opened a google a/c and managed to do an invited post. (Learning curves…)
But the biggie on Novels Now was the cover reveal for Mariah’s Marriage. Gorgeous! Designer is Charlotte K Volnek for MIU.

Another author interview. Fellow Edinburgh Writers’ Club member, Jane Riddell, talked about Water’s Edge, her debut novel from Thornberry Press.

May saw the publication of Mariah’s Marriage and I was able to report on attending the Joan Hessayon Award ceremony. Sadly, we didn’t win, but the RNA made all ten contenders feel like winners and I had a lovely trip to London for the event. I set off, electronically, on a publicity blog tour. Exhausting, but fun.

I was so pleased to announce that MIU had taken Bella’s Betrothal and she would be published in September.

I started a new series. This one is about aphorisms. Are you out there, Charles Rigg? I began with the cautionary tale of saying what I thought about a friend’s haircut in a post about Honesty is the best policy. It gets numerous visits from people in India. Are they writing school essays? Lovely to know you’re interested and keep visiting.

I offered a free copy of Mariah’s Marriage in the reverse birthday gifts blog of novelist, Sally Quilford. I’ve been slow to utilise giveaways, but they are of interest to many and there’s one current on this blog. Scroll down to ‘My Writing Process’. It closes at midnight on 5th January, ’14 UK time.

So fast, cover reveal (again by CKVolnek) for Bella’s Betrothal, and an online launch day. Lovely reviews from a variety of people go up. I go away for a month.

Oh Dear!

October More launch related activities.

Great visit to the Georgian House in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square and a chance to learn some of the Polonaise and hear about Yule logs and Mr. Lamont’s love of Ayrshire cheese. As Bella’s Betrothal is set in post Georgian Edinburgh, this was very exciting.

My Writing Process, a blog tour current through Facebook, provided a platform and chance to cross-fertilise with other writers of historical romance. Lovely to welcome returning visitors, but also new ones.

My writing year has been full of firsts and interest. I’ve worked behind the scenes with lovely editors Judy Roth and Greta Gunselman and illustrator CK Volnek. My publisher, Lea Schizas has been supportive and encouraging. Reviewers have been favourably impressed in many cases and given their reviews freely. Readers have sent messages, publicly and privately. I cherish moments when people say things like, ‘You write really well.’ They’re simultaneously pleased and relieved.

In My Writing Process, I revealed the third enterprise is Daisy’s Dilemma. In 2014, I need to get the fingers on the keys and finish this WIP. Then it has to take the usual hurdles. I hope it’ll be out there for you to read and me to blog about, but…

Thanks for being along on the ride. Happy New Year.


Marie Laval discusses Place as Character


Thank you so much Anne for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about the setting of my second historical romance, The Lion’s Embrace, which is published by MuseitUp Publishing.

Where is the Lion’s Embrace set?

The novel is set in Algeria in 1845 and takes my heroine Harriet Montague and my hero Lucas Saintclair on a journey from Algiers to the magical Hoggar mountain range and Tamanrasset in the far South of the country.

Have you been there or anywhere similar?

I always dreamt of travelling to Algeria, where my mother was born and brought up. The stories about her childhood were so wonderful and vivid they captured my imagination, and I often felt I had actually been there myself, gazed at the Mediterranean sea speckled with sunlight or felt on my skin the hot, red Saharan dust swirling in the Sirocco wind.

What aspects of the place excited your writer’s mind?

Everything! I was particularly attracted to the natural beauty and mystery of many of the locations Harriet and Lucas stopped at, such as the lush Saharan oases and the incredibly beautiful Hoggar mountains. I also love the architecture of palaces in the Algiers Kasbah, with their carved doors, intricate mosaics and secret gardens, and that of the ksars, fortified villages of the Sahara.

I must also mention the rich history of the country and its people. From the rock art, which depicts a Sahara teeming with wildlife and people in the Neolithic period, to the tales of the Garamantes’ lost kingdom and the tomb of legendary Tuareg Queen Tin Hinan near Abalessa, the setting just lends itself to endless romantic adventures. It was very hard for me to choose.

Does the place act as an unnamed character in your book?

Definitely. The landscapes and the climate play a crucial part in the novel, not only because of the emotions they arouse in the characters and the way they shape the events, but also because of the legends they have inspired over the centuries.

The Lion's Embrace

The Lion’s Embrace

For example, the Tuaregs have many beautiful tales, poems and music inspired by their natural environment. In the old days, the telling of traditional stories was very important, and every tribe had a ‘bag of tales’ which contained a handful of stones, each representing a particular story. When his people gathered around the campfire in the evenings, the tribe’s story teller would pull a stone out the bag and know straight away which story it related to…

‘The Lion’s Embrace’ is available from https://museituppublishing.com/ Also from http://www.amazon.com/The-Lions-Embrace-ebook/dp/B00BACDSK6 And http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=marie+laval+the+lion%27s+embrace

You can find me at http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/